Vatican City, Mar 30, 2011 / 12:13 pm
Internal conflicts in the Ivory Coast that threaten tear the country apart are a cause of such great concern for Pope Benedict XVI that he sent a top African official from the Vatican to plead for peace.
After four days of continuous battle in several of Ivory Coast’s cities, Pope Benedict pleaded for an end to the violence that has confined people to their homes or forced hundreds of thousands to flee to nearby countries.
Ivory Coast is "traumatised by painful internal conflicts and grave social and political tensions," said the Pope in his French-language greeting after the March 30 general audience at the Vatican.
Military forces supporting president-elect Alassane Ouattara are fighting to remove former president Laurent Gbagbo, who has refused to cede the office since he lost in still disputed elections last November.